Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Mindfulness Strategies for Sped Teachers & Students

Mindfulness is the state of awareness of the present moment. What does this do for you? Minimize a feeling of overwhelm, assist in feeling grounded, Calm big emotions, and create an overall feeling of gratitude and happiness.

I can’t think of one teacher that doesn’t need to practice mindfulness - man, our brains are always in overdrive! 

For teachers... let’s think about breathing and focus. There are some awesome apps that you can tune into on your lunch hour or prep period to help focus and ground you in the present moment. Two that I love are Headspace and Calm. If possible, taking a walk outside just to pay attention to the sounds, smells and sights can help take away some of the endless bouncing thoughts about which kids you’re worried about or how you’re going to finally organize your data binders. 

Kids? There are endless resources these days! Check out GoNoodle, it’s totally free and amazing for a multitude of reasons. They have specific channels that focus on mindfulness which are visual and really engaging for kids. Another great resource is MindYeti! While I like it, it’s important to know they don’t use any visuals, so you have to ensure your kids will be engaged solely by the auditory component!

Tangible Items
I also love some of these tangible "mindful" items that you can snag off of Amazon. (these are affiliate links!)

Do you remember these sand zen gardens?! Well, they are honestly so relaxing. Who knew? We have one in my classroom and I have a student who regularly requests it. Just make sure you keep it in a safe spot, away from busy hands because it is 100% likely that the sand will go everywhere without supervision.
How about those cheesy plug-in zen waterfalls? I have some students that go into a total trance watching our mini waterfall! It's a great way to focus on sounds and sights to distract from small problems or feeling overwhelmed.

What about classroom resources?

Have you seen the Breathing Choice Board freebie in my TeachersPayTeachers store? It’s a great Kickstarter in engaging your class in targeted breathing exercises. I’ve seen an increase in my students buy-in with structured breathing exercises after implementing these! 

What do you think? Do you have some mindful strategies or activities that you do to teach mindfulness to your students and keep yourself at peace?


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